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Parolee held without bail for allegedly murdering Bridgeport man

Cook County prosecutors have not said why Gerardo Campos allegedly shot at 68-year-old Alva Besst’s vehicle last month.

Al Besst was a well-liked figure in the Bridgeport community and was active at First Trinity Lutheran Church.
Al Besst was a well-liked figure in the Bridgeport community and was active at First Trinity Lutheran Church.
Provided

A parolee was ordered held without bond for allegedly shooting a longtime Bridgeport resident as he drove through the South Side neighborhood.

But why Gerardo Campos repeatedly shot at 68-year-old Alva Besst’s vehicle last month was no clearer after Campos appeared in court Sunday.

Police initially said they believed Besst, a handyman and active church member, was struck by a stray bullet as the shooter fired at someone else shortly after 6 p.m. on Feb. 16.

Campos was double parked in his girlfriend’s Hyundai Sonata when Besst pulled up behind him and stopped in the 800 block of West 31st Street, Cook County prosecutors said.

After 30 seconds, Besst drove his 1985 Lincoln Town Car around the Sonata and continued east.

Gerardo Campos
Gerardo Campos
Chicago police

Campos, 26, then extended his hand out the window and fired twice “in the direction of” the Town Car before driving away and firing twice more in the same direction, prosecutors said.

Besst, who was shot a block away from the Deering District police station, was struck in the head by a bullet that entered through his car’s back windshield, prosecutors said. He ended up crashing into a parked car and snow bank. Besst was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Prosecutors Tuesday declined to comment on whether Besst’s car was mistakenly targeted or a potential motive for the shooting.

Surveillance cameras captured the Sonata driving around the area for about 40 minutes before the shooting, prosecutors said. Campos was also identified by his numerous tattoos in surveillance footage while he fueled his car at a nearby gas station, prosecutors said.

After the shooting, Campos fled north on Poplar Avenue and tried to drive into an alley, where his car became stuck in the snow, prosecutors said.

There, two blocks from the shooting, Campos was captured on surveillance cameras getting out of the car with another unidentified person and being picked up by a motorist in a red car, prosecutors said.

Cellphone records allegedly show that Campos called his girlfriend repeatedly after the shooting. She reported her car missing to Cicero police less than a half hour after Besst was shot, prosecutors said.

Campos also texted a mechanic for help and told the mechanic to “keep it on the low,” prosecutors said. The mechanic called a tow truck driver to pull the car out of the alley and allegedly met with Campos, who provided keys for the Sonata and paid the tow truck driver in cash.

The tow truck driver later identified Campos as the man he had helped.

The Sonata was found abandoned at 44th Street and Kilpatrick Avenue and returned to Campos’ girlfriend after it was processed for evidence, prosecutors said.

Campos was taken into custody Thursday while driving the car, according to court records.

Campos was 18 when he was convicted and sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for aggravated battery with a handgun. During the same 2013 bench trial, he was acquitted of attempted murder charges, court records show.

Campos was released from the Menard Correctional Facility last summer on parole, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

He is expected back for in court for his murder case on April 6.